Tencent’s WeChat has temporarily suspended registration of new users in mainland China as it undergoes a technical upgrade “to align with relevant laws and regulations,” China’s dominant instant messaging platform said on Tuesday.
“We are currently upgrading our security technology to align with all relevant laws and regulations,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.
“During this time, registration of new Weixin personal and official accounts has been temporarily suspended. Registration services will be restored after the upgrade is complete, which is expected in early August,” the company said.
Weixin is the Chinese name for WeChat.
China is in the process of tightening its policy towards privacy and data security. It is readying a Personal Information Protection Law, which calls for tech platforms to impose stricter measures to ensure secure storage of user data.
Tencent was also asked by China’s market regulator on July 24 to relinquish its exclusive music label rights, after finding that the firm had violated antitrust laws.
The ruling is the latest in a crackdown on China’s tech sector after years of runaway growth, as Beijing frets over the companies’ growing influence as well as the security of troves of sensitive consumer data.
Tencent acquired a majority stake in rival China Music Group in 2016, effectively controlling more than 80 percent of exclusively held music streaming rights in the domestic market, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement.
This gave the firm’s music arm the ability to urge labels to “reach more exclusive copyright agreements, or require better trading conditions compared to (Tencent’s) competitors,” the regulator said, calling the case an “illegal concentration of business operators.”
Tencent’s music arm was also fined CNY 500,000 ($77,144 or roughly Rs. 57,41,600), SAMR said.
© Thomson Reuters 2021